Youth Big Barrel Baseball Bats are typically called Senior League baseball bats. Whereas most standard youth bats have a barrel diameter of 2.25 inches, Youth Big Barrel bats have fatter barrels that usually run between 2.625 inches and 2.75 inches in diameter.
In addition, they are also a little heavier than a normal youth baseball bat. A Youth Big Barrel bat can have a length to weight ratio as great as -5.
The overall larger profile of Youth Big Barrel bats lends to the fact that these bats are typically designed and used by older youth players, around the ages of 10-13+.
While most younger athletes above the age of 13 will then begin to play at the high school level and require a BBCOR certified bat, there are some youth leagues that permit players as old as sixteen-years-of-age, which use these Youth Big Barrel bats as their weapon of choice.
Today’s Youth Big Barrel bats are almost all approved by the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA), which is the governing body over a lot of major leagues across the country.
However, before making a final purchasing decision, it is always best to double check your son or daughter’s league rulebook regarding bat regulations.
Youth Big Barrel Baseball Bat Buying Guide
There are a lot of different choices when it comes to picking a best Youth Big Barrel bat, but before we get into the different models, it is important to cover the basics of sizing, where to buy and different materials of bats.
As mentioned above, most Youth Big Barrel bats have a barrel diameter of either 2.625 or 2.75 inches.
Generally, a fatter barrel increases the surface area of the sweet spot, which means a lot more hits will be powerful line drives or even better.
They are also nice for a hitter who is having trouble with consistency. However, some leagues only allow a maximum barrel diameter of 2.625.
Again, it is important to check with your son or daughter’s league standards.
Where sizing really comes into play is with the weight and length of the bat. The length of the bat is typically determined by the weight and height of your young player.
There are numerous charts available, such as the one below, that estimate the proper bat length based on these properties.
Youth Bat Sizing Chart
Chart by JustBats.com
The weight of the bat is entirely dependant on the strength of your child. Bat speed is crucial to being able to make good contact with the ball.
If the bat is too heavy, there will not be enough momentum behind the swing and the bat will be harder to control.
Alternatively, if the bat is too light, the player’s hits may lack the power and pop that could be achieved with a heavier bat.
Typically, the weight of the bat is determined by the drop weight, or length to weight ratio of the stick.
This measurement is easily determined by finding the difference between the length of the bat and its weight.
A lighter bat will have a drop weight of say -10 or -12, while heavier bats have a drop weight of -3, -5 or -8.
It is also important to mention the difference between a balanced baseball bat and an end loaded one, in terms of weight:
- Balanced bats are designed for contact hitters that are looking to put the ball in play and get on base.
- End loaded bats have extra weight in the end of the barrel to generate more power.
This creates a heavier swing weight that can be difficult to control, unless you are a beefy power hitter.
If your son or daughter is batting third of fourth in the lineup, they may be strong enough to really maximize their power with an end loaded Youth Big Barrel bat.
Aside from balanced and end loaded, the other way to differentiate bats is the material used. At the youth level, you are going to typically see only two materials aluminum/alloy and composite. Sometimes, there is a hybrid Youth Big Barrel Bat.
There is not really an advantage of one material against the next; it ultimately boils down to preference.
Aluminum or alloy bats are best right when you get them, while composite bats sometimes require a “break in” period, which can be easily worked out during a practice or at the batting cage.
Where to Buy
This decision boils down to two choices: online or in store. Shopping online yields a lot more variety, options and sometimes even better prices, especially if you can find an online sale or coupon.
However, when you purchase at a local sporting goods store, you get two added benefits:
First, you get onhand staff that can give you valuable insights and help guide your purchasing decision.
Secondly, your child gets the unique opportunity to hold the bat, feel the weight and even take a few test swings (some stores may even have a batting cage available) to really understand if it is the right bat or not.
The best strategy is to do the necessary research online (kudos because you are already on your way!), look at a few bats and then once you have a couple leading choices, visit a local sporting goods store and see if they have it available to look at and feel in person.
Best Youth Big Barrel Bats of 2016
As always, our lists try and include options that fit the needs of a variety of different players.
Thus, we include both balanced and end loaded bats, in order to appease both contact and power hitters, as well as options that are suited for players on a low budget or no budget at all.
Mizuno Nighthawk Hybrid Big Barrel Bat Review
This bat is an interesting choice for a few reasons. First, it is the only hybrid bat on the list. Hybrid bats are typically designed with an alloy barrel, but composite handle.
This is said to greatly reduce vibrations.
In case that was not enough to avoid bat sting, this Youth Big Barrel Bat also features a 2-Piece Link Construction design, which also greatly reduces feedback.
The other reason the 2016 Mizuno Nighthawk Hybrid is unique is because it only comes in one drop weight.
Usually, most bat manufacturers make multiple variations of their Senior League or Youth Big Barrel models, in order to encompass different length to weight ratio preferences.
This bat, however, is only available as a drop 10.
The last reason it is unique is because it features a larger, 2.75-inch barrel diameter.
Overall, the 2016 Mizuno Nighthawk Hybrid has a great sweet spot, very little vibration and a mid-to-high price point.
Remember, not all leagues accept a 2.75-inch barrel diameter.
Easton MAKO Senior League Bats
The Easton MAKO is one of the most accomplished composite bats on the market. Nearly every one of its models and variations is a superb, top pick among seasoned hitters.
One of the reasons it is so highly praised is because they include so many variations to fit all hitters.
The MAKO XL variations feature an end load for power hitters, while the traditional MAKO’s are balanced for contact hitting.
Some MAKO models feature the TORQ 360-degree rotating handle, which helps a hitter square up on inside pitches.
For Youth Big Barrel bats, the MAKO brings 7 different variations to the table including:
- Easton MAKO -10 drop weight, 2.625-inch barrel diameter
- Easton MAKO -10 drop weight, 2.75-inch barrel diameter
- Easton MAKO XL -8 drop weight, 2.625-inch barrel diameter
- Easton MAKO XL -5 drop weight, 2.625-inch barrel diameter
- Easton MAKO TORQ -8 drop weight, 2.625-inch barrel diameter
- Easton MAKO TORQ -10 drop weight, 2.75-inch barrel diameter
- Easton MAKO TORQ XL -5 drop weight, 2.625-inch barrel diameter
Easton Mako Torq Senior/Youth League Big Barrel Baseball Bat
-5 Length to Weight Ratio, 2 5/8 Inch Barrel Diameter
The Easton MAKOs are known for their enormous sweet spots and generally light swing weight.
They also feature the ConneXion bat technology, which achieves superior energy transfer for reduced bat sting.
Their main drawback is that they typically have a higher price point than competitors.
Louisville Slugger Prime 916
The Louisville Slugger 916 series marries together speed, power and balance together into a tremendous bat.
Every design feature aims to enhance one of these qualities, from the lightweight Fused Carbon Structure design, to the TRU3 Socket Connection technology for increased barrel trampoline effect.
For Youth Big Barrel baseball bats, Louisville Slugger offers four variations of the Prime 916. It is available with a -5, -8 or -10 length to weight ratio.
Each has a 2.625-inch barrel diameter, but there are two -10 models and the second variation with a 2.75-inch barrel diameter instead.
|Prime 916 Senior League (-5)
|Prime 916 Senior League (-8)
|Prime 916 SL 2 5/8 (-10)
|Prime 916 SL 2 3/4 (-10)
Louisville Slugger is so confident in the Prime 916, they back it with a 30-day Performance Promise. They are convinced it is the best bat in baseball and they may be right.
Despite its high price point, it has a lot going for it and really delivers on its promises of power, balance and speed.
Louisville Slugger Omaha 516 Big Barrel Bats
The 2016 Omaha 516 by Louisville Slugger is a one-piece bat that is available in three variations, including a drop 10 and drop 5, with a 2.625-inch barrel diameter and another drop 10, but with a 2.75-inch barrel.
|Senior League 2 5/8 (-10)
|Senior League 2 3/4 (-10)
The Omaha 516 is sort of like the Prime 916, but with a less powerful engine. It is built from the lightweight 7U1 Alloy, for faster swing speeds. The barrel is also elongated for a bigger sweet spot.
The Omaha 516 is notable for its price. It is the most affordable bat on the list and has some good features that allow it to compete with the high end models.
Its main drawback is that it lacks some of the impressive bat technologies of its competitors and its one-piece design generates a lot of negative feedback on the hands.
DeMarini Voodoo Overlord FT Youth Big Barrel Bats
The DeMarini Voodoo Overlord FT is available in only two variations, a drop 10 with a 2.75-inch barrel and an end-loaded drop 9 that has a barrel diameter of 2.625 inches.
Despite only having two Youth Big Barrel Models, this bat offers good options for a contact hitter or a smaller power hitter, as the end load of the Voodoo Overlord FT is not as dramatic as other bats.
These bats are full of impressive technologies, such as the ultra-sturdy and responsive X12 Alloy or the RCI Knob, which is designed to perfectly cradle the bottom of the hitter’s hands.
The best feature, however, is the D-Fusion FT Handle, which eliminates vibrations and simultaneously maximizes energy transfer to the barrel.
Due to the slight end load, this bat is ideal for a contact hitter looking for a bit of extra power or even looking to make the transformation into a power hitter.
Louisville Slugger CATALYST Senior League Bats
The CATALYST is one of the lightest Youth Big Barrel bats you will find, with a length to weight ratio of -12 (in either a 2.75-inch or 2.625-inch barrel diameter).
This ultra light weight is aided by the C1C Composite material, which is designed to be durable, light and high performance.
Its reinforced with epoxy resin, so even though it is incredibly light and fast, it won’t dent or crack easily.
For even more performance, the end cap is specially dialed in to trap energy inside the barrel and redirect it into batted balls.
At the same time, this end cap helps reduce vibration alongside the synthetic grip of the bat.
Overall, it is a super light, mid-range option for a Senior League bat.
Combat MAXUM Youth Big Barrel Bats
Comat MAXUM bats have a number of things going for them.
- First, they are ultra lightweight and make an ideal bat for a quick-handed contact hitter.
- Secondly, they are some of the most durable bats on the market.
Combat uses a special Precision Molding Technology to form the bat. It creates a much stronger end product. So much so that Combat backs its bats with a 500-day guarantee.
Thus, you can be assured knowing that the bat will last at least two seasons.
The 2016 Combat MAXUM Youth Big Barrel bats come in four varieties. One is a 2.75-inch barrel with a -10 length to weight ratio.
The remaining three models all have a barrel diameter of 2.625 inches and are available as either a -5, -8 or -12.
The Combat MAXUM is a little pricey, but you are afforded the guarantee that it will last some time, whereas other bats can lose their pop after only a season and a half or so.
When it comes to best Youth Big Barrel bats, the Easton MAKO may edge out the competition solely because it appeals to so many different types of hitters.
Whether you are a power hitter, contact hitter or somewhere in between, there is a MAKO for you.
The Louisville Slugger Prime 916 is a close second due to its many features and being true to its promise of balance, speed and control.
If you are on a budget, the Mizuno Nighthawk or DeMarini Voodoo Overlord FT are both great mid-range bats that have a ton of performance-enhancing features.
Ultimately, the decision will rest with your son and daughter and their unique preferences as a youth hitter.